in Activism

Pachuca/os: The Criminalization of Mexican Youth, Part I

Part I – Series On The Criminalization Of Mexican Youth:

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Mexican American youths detained for questioning, Daily News, Los Angeles, CA (1942). Source: UCLA, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

In my process of researching the history of Mexicans in Ventura County, I have collected thousands of news clippings. The majority of the clippings focus on the themes of labor, migration, and activism, which I’m writing on.

It’s common for my colleagues to contact me to see if I have anything on a selected topic, they or their student are working on. Months ago, my friend contacted me to see if I had anything on pachuca/os in Oxnard. One of his students was writing a research paper on the subject and was having a hard time finding any primary sources.

So, I looked through my news-clipping database and I found that I have collected a lot of information on pachuca/os between 1942 and 1944.

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During this time period, politicians, educators, and law enforcement waged a war against juvenile delinquency which targeted Mexican youth. As noted by historian Eduardo Obregón Pagán, the public would “debate whether Mexican citizens and their American-born children were culturally, politically, intellectually, and biologically capable of living with a white, civilized, democratic society.”[1]

Like, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers during this period, the Oxnard Press-Courier was utilized by local officials to criminalize  pachuca/os in Oxnard and Ventura County!

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Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 25 Aug 1942.

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Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 17 Sep 1942.

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Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 18 Sep 1942.

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Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 19 Sep 1942.

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Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 23 Sep 1942.

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Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 5 Oct 1942.

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Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 15 Oct 1942.

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Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 28 Oct 1942.

[1] Eduardo Obregón Pagán, Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon Zoot Suits, Race, and Riot in Wartime L.A. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 3.

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